When I stated last week that I had gotten my, second wind and was ready for whatever else should happen to come my way, boldly telling the universe to “BRING IT ON!”, I wasn’t exactly talking about the Nor’easter that came full force, literally blowing me and millions of others away this Halloween weekend!
No, No! This is not what I meant at all!
My blog is all about striving to live life on life’s terms and handle its unexpected events with as much grace and decorum as I can but I’m afraid the unexpected event of having a foot of the white stuff covering my front lawn in October, is nearly enough to send me over the edge!
Seriously, doesn’t Mother Nature know my son was supposed to have a championship football game this Sunday?
Or was it Old Man Winter who was awakened from his slumber?
Could it have been <GASP> my doing?
Perhaps this was an early, Halloween trick conspired by the two heads of nature?
Major tree damage, downed limbs and widespread, rampant power outages was the prediction and By-George, that’s exactly what we got! We lost power at around 5pm Saturday. By 7:30 our county was declared a “State of Emergency”.
Hurricane Irene and the rains that followed left our Hudson Valley grounds sopping to the roots! Throw in the seasonal fact that many trees still carry their fall leaves, add heavy, wet snow and gusty winds and you have the disaster that we got; two days before Halloween! It was a cold, long night but thankfully, we got our power back at around 10am this Sunday morning. Considering what I’ve come to see and hear, I think we’re among the luckier lot who got their power back as soon as we did. No doubt, some people in our and the surrounding areas will be in the dark for days!
Ugh. I’m bummed! I’m a huge fan of this and all holidays. I love to decorate and celebrate. Who will see our graveyard now that it’s buried under a foot of snow? I want to hear the rustling of leaves beneath sneakers as the ghosts and goblins approach my door, not the squishy-squeaky sound of snow boots sloshing their way up the footpath!
My boy, who is going as a Cheer-leading girl, is gonna freeze his hairy legs off!
My girl, who is going trick-or-treating as a Sponge-Bob, is going to, well, be miserable!
It’s too early, too soon for this freezing nonsense! I’m just not prepared to be wearing my winter coat in October. It’s something I prefer to ease my way into, not be abruptly forced into! I’m not even sure I know where my snow boots are!
BRING IT ON!
I said it. It’s true. I put it out there.
Next time, I’ll keep my declarations to myself!
I don’t ever recall snow, let alone a full-blown storm in this New York area before Halloween. Do you? Were you affected by the storm?
Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!
Photo Credit #1: Mother Nature
Photo Credit #2: Old Man Winter
Photo Credit #3-5: ©Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com & Karen Szczuka Teich
Last Saturday morning, my daughter and I left our peaceful retreat in the woods, hoping to get home before Irene got there. We made it, just in time to clear off the pool deck and secure all fly-able objects before the first onslaught of heavy rains pelted our area. Other than a few severe but sporadic downpours that afternoon however, Saturday turned out to be more like the calm before the storm. Things started out slow enough but strange for us in the Hudson Valley. Early in the evening, I noticed a few displaced turkeys.
If nothing else, their presence on the median in our otherwise “turkey-free” neighborhood was a sign that something was just–not– right.
It wasn’t until around 6am on Sunday that Irene picked up the pace, becoming faster and more furious, showing her relentless nature. Hour after hour throughout the day, she presented us with a deluge of rain leaving the better part of my front lawn under water by late afternoon.
A happy “singing in the rain” moment for my daughter perhaps but a menacing sight for her mom.
In her fiercest moments, two sump pumps, a powerful wet-vac and ultimately even a bucket brigade couldn’t keep her at bay. She streamed right into our basement through the glass doors that lead out to the back yard. There was NO stopping her. In the 24-hours or so that she hovered over our area, I back-washed at least 9-inches of water out of our pool, into an already over-flowing street drain.
Under dryer conditions, you can easily see the three steps that lead from the basement to the pool area.
Late in the day, the fire department closed off our street. They pumped water out of homes while we watched a variety of small objects float passed our house down the stream that is normally our road. By nightfall, she was gone.
Irene was “beast” as my kids would say, doling out her special blend of mayhem in the most sporadic of places. Perhaps she was a disappointment to some, not packing the punch that was anticipated by so many who took great measures to prepare for her arrival. But to me, her arbitrary selection of where to leave harsh destruction reinforced the fragility of life and the urgency to live it to it’s fullest without taking it for granted. She left just enough damage in my basement and neighborhood to earn my deepest respect. In the days following, as I watched report after report on the damage and heartache that was left elsewhere in her wake, she reminded me in no uncertain terms, that no matter how difficult things may seem, there is always someone out there who has it worse.
There are no limits to the power of nature.
So, I’m going to wade in gratitude for a while knowing that, there but for the grace of Irene……
Tell me, were you affected by Hurricane Irene?
Keep your eye on Lee, Louisiana!
Photo Credits #1-5: Karen Szczuka Teich and http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
Photo Credit #6: International Business Times Hurricane Lee
And in the blink of an eye, it was over.
Whether you have the summer off or not, everyone feels its’ end, most likely in a melancholy kind of way. With a slight pang of apprehension, I can’t help but recognize that the season has already begun to show hints of turning. The cycle has begun, again. Yes, in the blink of an eye, the summer is nearly over. That’s how life is though isn’t it? One minute they’re babies, the next they’re in school. Before you know it, they are driving and off on their own. I see it clearly now. Change is going to happen, regardless.
Life is fragile and passes quickly.
About a year and a half ago, I resigned myself to living in the moment the best that I could and as painful and beautiful as that has been at times and with all that’s transpired since then, I don’t think there’s much left that can surprise, shock or even hurt me anymore. Life is fragile and passes quickly.
And now, I am resigned to living it to it’s fullest.
The challenge for me, is embracing it in a mindful, peaceful way.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
In seeking peace for myself and in effort to make the most of my last week off before going back to work this Monday, my daughter and I drove Upstate to spend some time at our place in the woods. Her teacher joined us for a few days. As we puzzled and hiked and ate ice-cream, Irene was churning away, gaining strength as a category 3 hurricane in the Bahamas. I watched her unstoppable force rapidly move toward the east coast. I debated whether to stay put on the outer reaches of harm’s way for however long it would take her to pass or go home where my son was, much closer to her destructive path.
My heart belongs to two children. I chose to go home. But I leave here, a glimpse of the peace I found, with my girl, in the woods.
Life is fragile and passes quickly. How do you find your peace?
Photo Credit #1: Blink
Photo Credit #2-14: ©Karen Szczuka Teich and http://www.Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com